‘I Saw Myself in Them’
PROVO, Utah – Feb 10, 2021 – Whether he’s flying helicopters across Afghanistan and Iraq or running 100-mile ultramarathons, United States Army Major Jeff Timmons applies lessons about self-improvement and adhering to his values that he learned at BYU Marriott School of Business.
Growing up, Timmons always felt inspired to follow in his father’s footsteps and serve in the military. After completing his first year in BYU’s Army ROTC program, Timmons served for two years in Brazil as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While on his mission, a life-changing experience helped him to understand the value of serving his country and helped him feel that he truly belonged in the military.
Fifteen months into Timmons’ time in Brazil, the events of 11 September 2001 took place. “I was in a small, dinky restaurant watching the Brazilian news on this old black-and-white, cathode-ray tube TV, thinking that the footage of the Twin Towers was a clip from a movie,” Timmons remembers. “Since I was one of the only American missionaries in the area who was in a leadership position at that time, several other American missionaries looked to me for guidance in this emotional, scary moment.”
From that experience, Timmons became fully conscious of the many dangers and threats the United States faces. “I felt a strong confirmation regarding my decision to be in the Army ROTC program and to eventually join the military and defend my country,” he says.
Upon returning to the United States and BYU, Timmons reentered the Army ROTC and continued to learn how to protect his country. For Timmons, the BYU Army ROTC helped him stand out in the military crowd. “I chose to join the BYU Army ROTC because the school has an award-winning program that produces great officers. BYU trains people who understand the bigger picture and know how to make the right choices,” he says.
Since graduating in 2005 with a degree in English and serving in the US Army since then, Timmons attributes his success in the military to the moral values that the BYU Army ROTC program and BYU Marriott instill in its students. “BYU Marriott brings an ethical side to the world of business. I learned that you don’t have to give up your values in order to be successful,” he says. “BYU Marriott helped propel me toward my future and gave me confidence, purpose, and meaning.”
Timmons attended flight school and eventually deployed to Iraq, where he flew approximately nine hundred hours in an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter for combat missions. Later he deployed to Afghanistan as a company commander. Though he experienced difficult challenges throughout his deployments and missions, Timmons continued to advance and persevere until he landed an assignment in a place where he was familiar: BYU Marriott.
From 2013 to 2015, Timmons was assigned to return to BYU Marriott’s Army ROTC program, where he had the opportunity to pass on to future military service personnel the same lessons that had impacted him. “My first thought was that I didn’t deserve this ‘land of promise.’ Coming back was a perfect opportunity for me to recoup and receive a reminder of all the special things I learned at BYU,” he says. “This was a chance for me to give back to young students in the Army ROTC program who were just like me. I saw myself in them, I could relate to them, and I shared my experiences with them.” While an instructor at BYU, he also worked to develop his skill set and strengthen his self-improvement by earning an MBA from BYU Marriott in 2015.
Currently Timmons lives in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with his family. His current military assignment is acquiring and managing aviation equipment in the US Army Special Operations Aviation command. In his free time, he runs ultramarathons, which span distances of up to one hundred miles. When he first heard about ultramarathons, Timmons was living in Utah. He set a goal to run the Squaw Peak fifty-mile race, which he completed in 2015. Since then, he has completed a number of fifty-kilometer and fifty-mile races, and has raced in five one-hundred-mile races. He also finished a seventy-mile race across the narrowest section of Great Britain.
Ultimately, wherever Timmons finds himself in the world, he continues to apply the things he learned at BYU Marriott as he continuously works on his self-improvement. “A motto I’ve lived by is ‘Am I better today than I was yesterday?’ Something that I’ll always try to remember is, don’t compare yourself to other people, but compare yourself to who you are yesterday,” he says.
Media Contact: Chad Little: (801) 422-1512
Writer: Emily Atwood